Coming soon: Senator Cheney?

posted at 6:41 pm on July 8, 2013 by Guy Benson

The fact that Liz Cheney is weighing a run for public office isn’t news.  The fact that she phoned up Sen. Mike Enzi to serve tentative notice very much is:

In an interview last week after a town hall-style meeting at the county fairgrounds here, a few feet from a plaque marking the site of Mr. Cheney’s first political speech, Mr. Enzi revealed that Ms. Cheney told him this year that she was thinking about challenging him in 2014. “She called me and said that she’s looking at it,” he said. And did Ms. Cheney ask Mr. Enzi, now in his third term, if he was planning to run again? “No,” Mr. Enzi said…“I know of no one who doesn’t want Mike Enzi to run for the Senate again,” said Douglas W. Chamberlain, a former Wyoming House speaker. Mr. Enzi noted with a soft chuckle, “There’s at least one person out there who wants me to retire.” … But Mr. Enzi said he had not recently heard from the man he calls his “good friend” [speaking of the former Vice President]. “I would expect that he’d call before she declares,” Mr. Enzi said of Mr. Cheney.

Before she declares.  It doesn’t sound like Enzi is under any illusions about what’s probably coming his way next year.  Read the full Times piece for a glimpse at how key players within the Wyoming GOP are lining up behind the incumbent, even as they take great pains to avoid crossing the well-respected Cheney family.  Also, don’t miss the laughably hyperbolic warning from former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson about how a primary challenge from Cheney could tear the party asunder and hand Democrats the keys to the state.  (Highly unlikely).  For his part, the 69-year-old Enzi just nabbed a plum committee assignment and telegraphs no intention of retiring.  Over at Townhall, I’ve sketched out the contours of a hypothetical Enzi-Cheney primary contest:

What makes this potential internecine contest unusual is that Enzi is generally regarded as a conservative in good standing.  This isn’t a typical “RINO hunt.”  He’s earned a 93 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, and has matched the average Senate Republican score from Heritage Action.  Enzi recently voted against the ‘Gang of Eight’ immigration legislation.  Jonathan Martin speculatesthat Cheney would run to Enzi’s right on policy issues like the internet sales tax (which has split conservatives), while quietly taking up his left flank on gay marriage.  More than anything, an Enzi-Cheney race would come down to a battle over style and parochial concerns.  Cheney would paint herself as a fresh, invigorated conservative, willing to go to Washington and aggressively oppose the Obama agenda.  As Martin’s piece notes, she might also cite the modern-era tradition that no Wyoming Senator has served more than three terms.  Enzi’s supporters could respond with accusations of carpetbagging and nepotism.  They may tread lightly, though, as to avoid offending the well-liked Cheney family.

Cheney for Senate upsides: She’s a sharp, young, tenacious, conservative woman whose candidacy would drive the Left batty.  Cheney for Senate downsides: Is it wise to primary a reliable, if understated, conservative over largely stylistic  differences?  I’ll leave you with a bonus upside, via Allahpundit.  Admit it, this political theater would be engrossing:  “Imagine the floor arguments she and Paul would have — with Liz, ironically, sometimes defending Obama’s positions as Paul inevitably makes the isolationist case against them. Endless blogworthy content.”   Indeed.  But irresistible fodder for the righty blogosphere isn’t necessarily aligned with the best interests of the Republican Party or the conservative movement.

Update (AP): As Guy noted, a Liz Cheney run interests me mainly because it would theoretically bring a new full-throated superhawk to the Senate at a moment when the GOP’s tilting a tiny bit more isolationist. Right now Rubio’s the closest thing to a superhawk from the new crop of Senators, but (a) Rubio doesn’t want to embrace that role too much lest it complicate things for him in 2016 and (b) Rubio’s hawkishness sometimes seems less part of a particular foreign-policy vision and more an adjunct of his overarching “America’s the greatest” message. (“America’s the greatest, therefore we need to use our unique influence and Midas touch to help spread democracy in Syria.”) Liz Cheney would embrace the hawk role in a way Rubio wouldn’t, which is why I’m eager to see her and Rand Paul engage and eager to see how the party reacts to a new generation of Cheneys in positions of influence. But all politics is local, so the Wyoming race is going to turn on stuff like the Internet sales tax and Mike Enzi’s “long” tenure in office rather than international affairs. Oh well.

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As Americans and as conservatives we should flatly reject the notion that a primary is EVER inappropriate. There should be NOTHING about being an incumbent that entitles someone to go unchallenged until the general. I don’t care if it’s my favorite Senator — if there’s someone else out there who believes they’re a better candidate, let them make their case.

SoRight on July 9, 2013 at 12:16 AM

Senator Cheney?

If it only serves to allow for just one single Progressive or Liberal head to suddenly violently explode, then, yeah, it is worth it.

coldwarrior on July 9, 2013 at 2:02 AM

Liz Cheney’s manner of talking has a depressing effect on me. Tone of voice?

I don’t know but there is something about her that bugs me.

Sherman1864 on July 9, 2013 at 2:18 AM

I’m trying to remember when the mere mention of a conservative’s name could put so many trolls into a case of the vapors.

Mr. Grump on July 9, 2013 at 8:18 AM

I just want to know what laws, as a citizen, I get to ignore/break.

Cindy Munford on July 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM

That’s what these idiots don’t realize. They are teaching you that laws don’t matter. They are unmaking society.

DFCtomm on July 9, 2013 at 8:38 AM

I’m trying to remember when the mere mention of a conservative’s name could put so many trolls into a case of the vapors.

Mr. Grump on July 9, 2013 at 8:18 AM

It was probably Rubio.

DFCtomm on July 9, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Liz Cheney rocks..:)

Dire Straits on July 9, 2013 at 9:03 AM

For having had five kids she looks in great shape.She will be the next Alan Simpson if she is elected.

celtic warrior on July 9, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Jonathan Martin speculatesthat Cheney would run to Enzi’s right on policy issues like the internet sales tax (which has split conservatives), while quietly taking up his left flank on gay marriage.

This could be a weakness for Liz Cheney in a Republican primary in Wyoming. As was brought out by the Kerry/Edwards campaign in 2004, Liz Cheney’s sister is a lesbian, which may lead her to be somewhat “soft” on gay marriage.

If Senator Enzi were to voluntarily retire, Liz Cheney would be a good replacement in a reliably Republican state, due to the positive image of her father, the former Vice President, in Wyoming. But if Enzi is ready to serve another term as a reliably conservative vote in the Senate, it would be foolish and selfish for Liz Cheney to challenge him in a primary.

If Enzi is already in his third term, he has accumulated seniority in the Senate, and has more influence on Senate committees than Liz Cheney would if she replaced him as a freshman Senator. Wyoming’s other Senator Barrasso has already developed a reputation as a Senate leader on health-care issues, because he is one of the few medical doctors in the Senate.

This is one of the major drawbacks when long-serving Republican Senators are either primaried out, or retire in frustration (such as Jim DeMint, who voluntarily gave up 4 years in the Senate in order to lead the Heritage Foundation, where he has far less influence than an 8-year Senator).

Steve Z on July 9, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Liz Cheney does rock. I guess her primary residence is in WY, but it would be unbelievable if she ran in VA. We could certainly get behind her candidacy.

As for Rubio……sure not a superhawk in anything. He has disappointed me terribly. You don’t get the correct things done by consorting with Democrats. That is why we are in the trouble we are in. There is no compromise with radicals. None.

BetseyRoss on July 9, 2013 at 9:26 AM

YES. PLEASE, GOD, YES.

Cylor on July 9, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Yes!

Fleuries on July 9, 2013 at 9:28 AM

My guess is that this is a preliminary for a Presidential run in 2020 or 2024.

She’ll only be 58 in 2024. That’s very doable.

Chris of Rights on July 9, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Name ONE Democrat in the past 25 years who moved sharply to the right.

bw222 on July 8, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Easy! John McCain in his last senate race!

Got re-elected & went back to being a liberal

Conservative4Ever on July 9, 2013 at 10:24 AM

RUN LIZ RUN….
My 2 favorite women, Liz Cheney & Sarah Palin, these women aren’t afraid to call a spade a spade.

mmcnamer1 on July 9, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Cheney for Senate upsides: She’s a sharp, young, tenacious, conservative woman whose candidacy would drive the Left batty.
– Guy Benson

If anything, the Dems and ‘Left’ should welcome this.
Mike Enzi is a guy you can point to to show the GOP hasn’t completely gone off the rails.
Liz is on a desperate salvage mission for her Dad’s legacy.
And in her bitterness has adopted a nasty hyper-partisan bite.
So sure…go for it.
Simpson is right.

Another bit that stood out in that article…
She’s moved her 5 school age children to Wyoming…for photo opps.
They, like she, have been raised in Virginia/D.C.
So fair to say it’s the poor kids being driven batty…by their Mom.

verbaluce on July 9, 2013 at 11:52 AM

So fair to say it’s the poor kids being driven batty…by their Mom.
verbaluce on July 9, 2013 at 11:52 AM

The Cheneys are a wonderfully happy family, and I’m sure it pains you to hear that.

Your comment really said nothing at all. Just revealed that people like you are going to be stomping your feet whenever you see the fantastic and popular Senator Cheney on tv. Maybe one day you will even get to say “current Vice President Cheney” once again. :-)

bluegill on July 9, 2013 at 12:21 PM

The Cheneys are a wonderfully happy family, and I’m sure it pains you to hear that.

bluegill on July 9, 2013 at 12:21 PM

No doubt they are.
But reading that I felt ‘those poor kids’.
I’d feel the same way if it was Dem yanking their kids away from school and friends to carpetbag a Senate seat.
But I sure they were told ‘it’s only temporary’.

verbaluce on July 9, 2013 at 1:36 PM

I am SOOOOO tired of the OLD, INSTITUTIONAL, Washington-Insider, Political Elitist, ‘the law doesn’t apply to us’ politicians! We need to fire ALL OF THEM & re-start….to get back to ‘WE the People’ rather than ‘We Elitists dictate to you, the sheep’.

easyt65 on July 9, 2013 at 1:37 PM

The Senate is becoming nothing but a breeding ground for wannabe presidential candidates. Until recently, there were very few Senators who were considered qualified to become President. I like Liz Cheney, but I am doubtful that she is running because she wants to represent Wyoming. I’m sure it’s all about timing since Senators are only up for reelection every six years. I live in Northern Colorado and work in Wyoming, and Wyoming has its act together as opposed to where beautiful Colorado has gone since refugee Californians immigrated here.

lea on July 9, 2013 at 1:37 PM

There can be no rational reason for Liz to oppose Enzi. He is about as good a conservative as anyone. The only negative for me is he is in his 3rd term. But why pick a fight with an otherwise good man? Liz could move to Virginia and get after a real liberal! This whole thing is stupid and invites Democrat and MSM ridicule!

tomshup on July 9, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Liz Cheney’s manner of talking has a depressing effect on me. Tone of voice?

I don’t know but there is something about her that bugs me.

Sherman1864 on July 9, 2013 at 2:18 AM

Think real, real hard and make sure it has nothing to so with hormones. Why do we not b!tch so much about men’s “tone of voice”? And what earthly difference does it make?

alwaysfiredup on July 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Enzi is reliable. I like the way he votes. Unless / until he proves to be a RINO, I think Wyoming should stick with the tried and true.

That said, if Liz Cheney were elected to the Senate, she could certainly endear herself to me if she would only follow in her father’s footsteps and tell Boxer, Cantwell, Feinstein, Gillibrand, McCaskill, Murray (along with a few others) to “Go f*** yourself.” THAT would “make my day”.

I’m sorry. I guess I’m just a bad, bad man.

My collie says:

And it wouldn’t hurt if she shot another lawyer in the face with a shotgun, too.

But I’m not as bad as my collie, K?

CyberCipher on July 9, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I’m trying to remember when the mere mention of a conservative’s name could put so many trolls into a case of the vapors.

Mr. Grump on July 9, 2013 at 8:18 AM

It was probably Rubio.

DFCtomm

Please, Rubio? Schummer’s ball boy?

Cruz is the only one who fits that bill and that’s not a ringing endorsement from this Texan, it’s just that there are, sadly, so few conservatives out there.

E9RET on July 9, 2013 at 2:35 PM

She has a very good pedigree. I admire her father as well. I believe she would be much more capable of withstanding the attacks of the ruthless, sexist, racist, stupid (e.g. liberals) than was Palin, who I also like very much.

trl on July 10, 2013 at 8:47 AM

alwaysfiredup on July 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM

You are right that it may make no difference how she speaks.

But I do criticize men’s tones as well.

You will agree with me that Obama’s tone of voice is insufferable.

Sherman1864 on July 10, 2013 at 9:22 AM

I hope Liz Cheney runs. I hope she wins.

She’d be immensely good in Congress.

Lourdes on July 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM

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